New and so confused

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by shudson991, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. shudson991

    shudson991 New Member

    So my son has been difficult for at least the past year - he is 3, turning 4 October 10th. I have heard time and time again, that's a boy for ya. The true moments I began to worry began July 5th. We were coming back from a family trip and were about 8 hours from home. He started by taking his sister's blanket, then pinching her, then throwing things, telling me "You can't make me" etc. I will try to keep this short. Thinking we just didn't keep him occupied enough we armed ourselves well for the next few trips with dvd players and toys - better. Then the next blowup- July 30th - over getting dressed for pictures. Tried to let him pick out his clothes thinking that would make it better. No, much screaming, kicking, hitting, had to be restrained. In the end, he was in the pictures for my parents 45th anniversary - without a shirt. Fast forward to August 6th, my father and husband tried to get him to sit at the table at my parents for dinner. Disaster! Ended up with my dad restraining him. I asked what he was trying to accomplish - since I had read the Explosive Child after the previous blowup which occurred on August 4th when he didn't want to get out of the car and go to VBS. Set up an appointment with a child psychologist and an appointment with his daycare yesterday. Turns out they hadn't told me but they are experiencing the extreme defiance as well. So I sit here at home right now because he had a fit over getting his pull up changed and kicked his teacher in the face.
    Normal 3 yr old behavior? Help me. I am so tired of hearing that I need to beat him to show him who is boss. He has been spanked but I always feel terrible because why treat aggression with hitting? but it is the only thing that seemed to work. He has been restrained. He has recently turned to bolting when he doesn't want to do something. Running towards major streets even. What bothered the daycare director most about today, he sat in her office for over an hour and wouldn't say a word. When I finally got him to talk, all he would say is I'm tired. He is not tired. He got over 10 hours of sleep last night. That is the only thing he ever says in situations, "I'm tired."
    Help? Thoughts?
    The meeting with daycare is at 3:30 today and the psychologist appointment is this Thursday morning as I called and got into a cancellation spot because I got desparate when I heard he kicked the teacher in the face.

    Thank you!
  2. jal

    jal Member

    Your son sounds a lot like what mine was like at this age (mine is now 9).Have you considered contacting Birth to 3 in your state for an evaluation? Fights regarding clothing could have to do with sensory issues. Defiance, bolting and the ODD tendencies can be related to ADHD, but also other things. I would suggest an evaluation by Birth to 3 to rule out anything that may be a major flag for spectrum disorders. It is a start. If your state doesn't have this or he's aged out a neuropsychological evaluation may be in order. My difficult child did not qualify for Birth to 3 as he had no delays and was on track and nothing on the spectrum stood out. Also my difficult child although diagnosis'd with-ADHD does not respond well at all to stimulants, they just agitate him. I can tell you it will get better. husband and I have been at this for 7 years and sought out every avenue from published psychologists, to private psychiatrists to public agencies, in home wrap around services, you name it and through maturity, intervention and medication we now have a smart, funny, bright young man who on occasion struggles, but is much happier and thus in turn makes everyone happier.

    Also look in on the family history. Is there a history of mental health or substance abuse issues on either side of the family?

    Spanking will not change the situation as you recognize. It doesn't teach the child who is in charge. It may send him into a meltdown and then he calms down, but what does it teach the child, like you said? It only scares them.

    Impulsivity may be the underlying factor in his behavior. Something they cannot express or control at that age. My difficult child was a bolter. He bolted from daycare into the street. He hit teachers in the face, hit other kids, went through 5 daycares. It was a nightmare. I understand.

    Evaluation will be the first setp into understanding your chil. Good luck to you.
  3. keista

    keista New Member

    :consoling: Welcome to the board.

    Oh I so don't understand the logic, and have been victim of that myself. Schools seem to let behavior escalate before saying anything to you. GRRRRRRRRRRRR

    Sounds like you have a handful, but also you seem to be on the right track getting evaluations lined up.

    Tired? Yeah, he probably is tired. Those meltdowns take a lot of energy, and at almost 4 he doesn't have a full range of language and understanding of his emotions to be more specific, so, he says what he knows - he's tired. Don't despair, it is a good clue as to what's going on with him.

    Welcome again, and remember, now that you have found us, :notalone:
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    OK, you hooked me with that one.
    I'm going to take your difficult child's side, instead, and give you a peek into one possible scenario.

    What if he really IS tired?
    1) 10 hours of sleep isn't anywhere close to excessive for a 3 or 4 year old. 12 hours would be relatively normal.
    2) quantity of sleep isn't the same as quality of sleep - and quality is much harder to measure.
    3) there's way more kinds of "tired" than what we think of as tired...

    How can he be tired?
    - not enough sleep in total or not enough of the right kind of sleep. Either way - huge negative impacts on behavior. And the medical community doesn't pick up on this very fast. There can be medical reasons (thyroid problems, for one), or emotional and other reasons. But whatever the reason, this would be huge.
    - mental tiredness - if he has auditory issues, for example, and is fighting through background noise to try to hear... the brain wears out real fast. At this point, the kid is not physically tired, but is beyond coping. Until you can get evaluations, you won't know if this is a factor - he's too young for LDs to really show up yet, but auditory issues start young! And there can be other sources of mental tiredness.
    - emotional tiredness - sensory issues, for example, or mental health issues, or other stuff... leave the kid feeling raw and out of sorts, and you may have no idea what the triggers are.
    - neuromotor tiredness - if he has motor coordination issues (fine skills at this age will show up in dressing - think buttons, zippers, etc. - self feeding - art work quality; gross skills are things like throwing/catching/running/climbing) he may be using way more brainpower to manage physical activity than his peers... and be running out of brainpower long before the day is done.
    - and yes, you can get all of this and more.

    Besides getting evaluations done - which is critical, and you should probably consider adding an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation to the mix to look at both sensory issues and motor skills - you may need to start experimenting.
    Major trips are hugely stressful, even for adults with no issues! So are... large family gatherings, formal pictures, and just about anything else that some portion of the adults will get stressed out about... the kid is likely to have problems with. Plan ahead. Limit the number of occurences, the length of time you stay, how busy the day is ahead of time, etc. It won't make you popular with your extended family - but your son's behaviour isn't making you popular anyway. Start reducing motor-skills requirements and see what happens - velcro shoes, oversized T-shirts, shorts/pants with elastic waists that don't need buttons/zippers, etc. Experiment with quiet vs. noisy environments.

    See if YOU can figure out some of what sets him off. Because the more you know, the more base-line you can give the specialists when you get there - and it helps (usually) the quality of the testing because they have certain issues to target.

    Its lots of work. But if you can reduce the "tired" in his day, you just might find you have a different kid. (been there done that)
  5. Free Kittens

    Free Kittens New Member

    Hi shudson

    Welcome aboard.

    How did the school meeting go?

    Free Kittens
  6. shudson991

    shudson991 New Member

    Sorri I haven't checked in lately, been a little overwhelmed. I have a history of depression, have battled with it almost all of my adult life. That is the only family history of it.
    The school meeting went well, we thought. They did not want to do an Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation or whatever it is the Birth-3 does because they didn't see anything that would trigger anything. But, a further update (why I have been so busy and not posting, I have been going crazy!)
    This week has been hell at school. We have gotten a little better at home. I am getting better at intervening and using loving contact with him before he gets out of control to calm him down. But Tuesday- I had to pick up Will from daycare again yesterday about 4:15. They had had him in the director's office since about 10 am. He had gotten mad over being told not to destroy the bathroom, put toilet paper everywhere. He has never ever done that at home or at school before. And then he went ballistic. Screaming, hitting teachers, hitting other students. Apparently the teacher tried for about an hour to work it out herself and then they tried in the classroom and finally took him to the office. He threw his lunch everywhere. Threw the cot for naptime (in the office). All this while (the 6 hours or so) he never said a word- just threw stuff and hit and kicked. They gave in at 4 pm and called me to get him. When I picked him up they told me he had been throwing chairs. I walked in and didn't realize he was totally naked throwing chairs. They did say at that point that they were going to arrange for an evaluation to be done. Then yesterday my hubby picked him up and he was naked scooting his butt across the floor (like dogs do). The counselor said that is an indication that they are DONE and can't take anymore. I am patiently awaiting the evaluations and the counselor to meet with him to get on a path of something, not sure what path, but something has to work, right?
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    First, though, you need ALL the evaluations... you need to know everything that is going on.
    The reality is... you won't get all the evaluations for several more years.
    At 4, there are few tests that are accurate. There are some - and you want those. But most things that they can come up with now will be "continue to evaluate for..." and "rule-out xxx" etc.
    Still useful - its a professional opinion. But this is going to take time.

    Its positive that you are getting results at home. What you do not know is what is actually going on at daycare. Daycare will not tell you. They may not even know. But this is not random behaviour. There are reasons.

    You may need to get your own Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation - for sensory issues and for motor skills (and anything else the Occupational Therapist (OT) can think of).
    He's probably too young to handle Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) evaluations - that is at least school age, unless he is really behind in language development.

    Some common causes of over-the-top behavior that we've seen include:
    - sensory issues
    - motor skills issues
    - communication issues
    - noisy environment - listing this separate from sensory issues, because it can be an auditory processing issue
    - bullying

    Schools and daycares will claim that it can't possibly be their environment, because it works for the rest of the kids... ya, right.
  8. keista

    keista New Member

    YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just can't get over the fact that these ppl wait til it gets THAT bad to acknowledge that anything is wrong, but it happens all the time.
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there.

    Your son is not acting like a typical three year old (I've raised five of them). I suspect that your loving Mom Gut has already told you that. BUT...there is NOTHING good to come of beating him into submission. I wouldn't even spank him. It isn't working and all it does is show him to hit people when he's angry. You need to disregard anyone, even your parents, if they think a good beating will do the trick.

    I recommend having him evaluated by a neuropsychologist. Schools can test to see if he qualifies for early services (which can be helpful). You will get a better picture if you take him to a neuropsychologist as well. How is his development coming along? Do you or his biological father have any psychiatric problems on his family tree? I agree that it can take several years to get the right diagnosis, but you can at least see where he is deficient and how to deal with his triggers. Early intervention yields the best results and gives your son the best prognosis. by the way, the most common first diagnoses are ADHD/ODD. They are usually NOT the final diagnosis. though.

    I personally do not believe he can help or control his temper and something is probably going on with him that can be helped with the right assistance :)
  10. shudson991

    shudson991 New Member

    Thanks for the confirmation about the normalcy. And also thanks InsaneCdn for the comments on tiredness. With his 2 to 3 hour nap, he gets a lot of sleep but I would believe the mental or emotional tired. He used his first emotion word yesterday, saying "I was mad" when we asked him about the episode at school. He wouldn't elaborate at all from that but it was an emotion word and the first in almost 4 years!!!!!! And - today we had no issues at daycare-- I am so excited. Mark one success- even if it is one day. Heck at this point, I count 1/2 days!
  11. Free Kittens

    Free Kittens New Member

    Half days do count! Sometimes 5 minutes counts.....
  12. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Does your school district have a sp.ed. preschool and can you get him in it? I've heard with some diagnosis's the rages are like a seizure. Things come out of their months that don't make sense, or they wouldn't say any other time, or in your case loses language. I'm not diagnosis a seizure problem. I am not a dr. Its important to get to the right diagnosis but it'll take lots of time, patience, advocacy, re-testing, ect.... With the school refusing the Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluation. I've found with testing that the schools are set up for testing to see if the kids qualify for sp. ed. but if you want a through evaluation its best to go else where. The school testing can be good. Its just not the only testing that needs to be done.

    If the rages are worse at daycare there might be something or someone at daycare that is setting him off. Getting them to work with you on this could be very hard which is why I suggested the sp ed preschool. The schools are required to work with the kids.

    Welcome to one of the best places on the web.
  13. shudson991

    shudson991 New Member

    Okay so after 2 good days at daycare, they decided not to do the evaluation. Then he had another 2 good days, then the bottom fell out again. He met with the counselor on Wednesday of this week. He thinks he has developmental delays in communication based on his evaluation and he made some recommendations. Meanwhile, my son just keeps getting more and more violent. Daycare managed to get the behavioral analyst in this morning - we got bumped way far ahead. She is dumbfounded apparently. Found a trigger though she said. An adult telling him to do something. Well duh! Recommended another therapist and we will get the official report I guess when we pick him up today from daycare. I am thinking ODD more and more. Question, do they always say that is the parents' fault when it comes to ODD? I am thinking that my depression is going to come into play in all of this. I am a fully functioning person and I feel a good parent as well as my husband. Well, let the next journey begin...
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If ALL they come back with is a diagnosis of ODD, then what they are really saying is that they do not know what the problem is.
    ODD is mostly a placeholder - yes, there are certain behavior patterns, but these can have multiple causes. Which approaches to use (interventions, accommodations, medications) will be different and in some cases outright contradictory from one diagnosis to another.
  15. keista

    keista New Member

    Just like with anything else, it depends on who "they" are and where "they" are coming from. If it was all your fault, then there should be improvement in his behavior at daycare with "correct" disciplinary techniques - obviously not the case.

    Stop and look further. WHY is an adult telling him to do something, triggering him? Is it they way they are asking? Is it interrupting his current activity? Is he understanding WHY he needs to do what he needs to do? And I'm not posing these questions from a "DUH", usual answer perspective. You have to "get into his head" and understand how he perceives all this.

    Example: Son would be engaged in an activity. I would tell him we have to get dressed to go. Son goes into a full out meltdown. Guess what? Son is autistic. He wasn't ABLE to make that kind of quick transition.
    Example: Son refused to talk. Guess what? He had a restricted frenum and couldn't say things PERFECTLY. Snipped frenum and he was talking nonstop. He was autistic and a perfectionist. Doing things "wrong" (mispronouncing in this case) was unacceptable and caused anxiety, so he didn't do it.
    Example: DD1 would start screaming at the top of her lungs during movie time at summer camp. Guess what? She's got auditory sensory issues. She's trying to watch the movie, but can't hear or focus because other kids are chatting - full out sensory meltdown. Once we identified this, we taught her to identify sensory overload and ask for permission to be removed from the situation. A Counselor that "forgot" the plan told her that she couldn't get up. Guess what? She started screaming again.

    ODD explains the behavior, but doesn't explain WHY it is happening. There is more to the big picture. The WHY is crucially important because that will dictate HOW you can address what seems like ODD. Anxiety, Depression, Autism, ADHD, Bipolar can all manifest initially as ODD, but with each one, you will approach correcting the behavior in VERY different ways. Oh, and ODD due to "bad parenting" will be approached in yet another way.

    I'm certain you both are. Just possible that your parenting style doesn't currently fit your son. In no way does it mean you are doing anything wrong, just that there might be many new things you'll have to learn. Some may even be counter-intuitive to good parenting, but if it works for you, your child and your family as a whole you may find yourself embracing it.
  16. shudson991

    shudson991 New Member

    Yes the why. That is still to be determined. They say negative on the sensory. They say negative on the autism. Thank you for the insight on the parenting to the child. That is what we need. Parenting was not super easy when it came to my daughter as a preschooler but it was easily adapted. I can adapt. I will look at it that way. Thanks all!
  17. seriously

    seriously New Member

    Is it the adult telling him to do something or is he being asked to perform a task? An adult may tell him "You have to stop now." or she may say "Go get your coat and then line up at the door."

    The first is the adult telling him to do something.

    The second is an adult telling him to do a 2 step task (get your coat + line up at the door)

    It is helpful to try to look for these kinds of subtleties when a you hear a blanket statement like that (i.e. child is "triggered" by adults).

    Does it matter which adult?

    Does it make a difference if the child is being asked to switch from an activity he likes to one he doesn't?

    Does it make a difference if the adult gets down on his level? Puts a hand on his shoulder while speaking to him?

    Does it make a difference if he is hungry? If the room is noisy?

    If there are language processing issues, giving him even a complex one step task may be triggering for him ("go get the red bear on the second shelf" is a complex one step task vs. "go get the bear" is a simple one step task)

    Has his hearing been tested within the last 6 months by an audiologist? If not, I would make that a priority. You would be surprised at the number of kids walking around with a mild hearing impairment. Even a mild one can make it hard for a child to tell what you're saying if there's any noise at all.